Is the man who conned several St. Louis restaurants into giving him free food last year up to his old tricks? Todd Brutcher, manager of Onesto Pizza and Trattoria (5401 Finkman Street; 314-802-8883), thinks so after a run-in this week with the alleged Scamwich Artist.
Brutcher tells Gut Check that on Tuesday he overheard one of his servers talking to a customer who wanted food comped because the restaurant allegedly messed up his order. Brutcher remembered someone calling last Saturday with a similar complaint and jumped into the conversation to ask: "Oh, wait, the turkey sandwiches?"
"Uh, yeah, yeah, that's what it is," replied the customer, not looking Brutcher in the eye. The man at the counter had just ordered two entrees, so Brutcher agreed to subtract from his meal the price of two sandwiches. The customer paid the difference in cash and left quickly.
Afterward, Brutcher couldn't get the transaction out of his head -- something seemed off. Then he remembered Gut Check's story last October about the so-called St. Louis "Scamwich Artist," a.k.a. Mitchell Kerman.
"I saw the photo [that appeared in the Gut Check article last October], and I'm like, sure as shit, it's that dude! It's him!" Brutcher says. "The balls on this guy -- first of all, he gets busted, and not a year goes by and he's doing it again."
Brutcher says he printed out the picture and stuck it on Onesto's carry-out computer, so no other employees will be fooled. He also gave it to his friends at Quincy Street Bistro and Mathew's Kitchen.
Brutcher remembered the customer's M.O. (two sandwiches) and the fact that he was an older man. "It wasn't for much. It was twenty bucks. But A, I hate thieves; and B, he was busted on this not a year ago and he's doing it again," he says.
As it turns out, Onesto isn't the only St. Louis restaurant complaining about Kerman this week. Rob Quiason, owner of the Dogtown sandwich shop Nora's (1136 Tamm Avenue; 314-645-2706), says his staff fell victim to the Scamwich Artist just yesterday.